Filed under: Volunteerism
How many conversations have you had in Miami beginning with “So…where are you from?” Many of us have come from somewhere else and are now living in South Florida. Finding a sense of community can be difficult. One great aspect of volunteering is the GIVE BACK that comes from a mindset that says “I am not just passing through. I am part of a community that I can choose to change.”
The Give Back starts with the decision to donate time. With a little research and planning you can find a volunteer project that fits just about any interest you have. This is the most difficult part for a lot of people—especially for first-time volunteers. Always keep uppermost in your mind that you are donating your time because you want to.
I personally choose to give back to organizations and causes that reflect my interests and are an extension of activities I would do for myself. I have woken up at 3:30 am to volunteer at a very rainy marathon because I won’t run a marathon myself, but wanted to be a part of the event. I can’t stand a beach with broken glass and garbage, so that results in my joining a beach cleanup project on a Sunday morning. I have run a teaching kitchen that was an adult education program. I volunteered here at the Adrienne Arsht Center for 6 months before joining the staff.
For me, the reward of volunteering is the Get Back—the experience I take away for myself. Volunteering is a way to make connections with like-minded people, and the result is the creation of your own community. The decision to volunteer for someone else, to choose to spend my own free time in the service of others opens me up to the idea that I am part of something worth working for. I get back the sense that this is my place—and I can make a difference.
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